Sun, Jan 28, 2018 - Page 1 News List

Nation’s first AI academy opens its doors in Taipei

By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter

Academia Sinica President James Liao speaks at the inauguration of the nation’s first artificial intelligence academy at the institution in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: CNA

The nation’s first artificial intelligence (AI) academy was yesterday inaugurated at Academia Sinica in Taipei, drawing 530 students and donations totaling NT$150 million (US$5.15 million) from five businesses for its first semester.

The academy incorporates two 12-week courses: a skills training program and a weekend program for business managers, academy chief executive officer Chen Sheng-wei (陳昇瑋) said at the ceremony.

After reviewing 900 applications, the academy admitted 210 students for the skills training program and 320 for the management program, Chen said, adding that the applicants were primarily from the electronics, manufacturing, information technology, finance and biomedicine sectors.

Students would be allowed to use nine laboratories equipped with a total of 240 graphics processing units at the academy’s temporary location at Academia Sinica, he said.

The academy is preparing additional campuses in Taipei, Hsinchu, Taichung, Tainan and Kaohsiung, which are expected to teach a total of about 7,500 people per year, he added.

The academy was organized by the Taiwan Data Science Foundation and the preparatory office of the Technological Environment Development Foundation (科技生態發展公益基金會).

Office head Wei Chi-lin (魏啟林) received NT$30 million in donations each from five businesses: Formosa Plastics Group (台塑集團), Chi Mei Corp (奇美實業), Inventec Corp (英業達), Elan Microelectronics Corp (義隆電子) and MediaTek Inc (聯發科).

The nation last year began promoting AI, while this year is the time to turn notions into actions, Minister of Science and Technology Chen Liang-gee (陳良基) said.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (台積電) chairman Morris Chang (張忠謀) on Thursday said the nation has over the past two decades become disoriented as Internet technology has replaced PCs as the driving market force, Chen Liang-gee said, referring to Chang’s remarks at the Executive Yuan’s Board of Science and Technology meeting.

“Taiwan cannot again lose the battle” in AI development, he quoted Chang as saying.

The academy offers a great opportunity for people who aspire to learn AI applications, but do not know where to start, said academy student Cheng Yi-hsuan (鄭憶萱), a software engineer at Simware Inc (鑫威資訊).

She looks forward to boosting her efficiency in analyzing big data, Cheng said, adding that she feels inspired, rather than threatened, by the potential of AI.

The first graduation ceremony is to take place on April 28.

The academy yesterday began taking applications for the second semester and is to accept applications until March 27.

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